Fred Ezeh, Abuja
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has expressed joy at the release of 180 children that were on administrative custody in Nigerian Army detention facilities in Borno State for alleged ties with Boko Haram insurgents.
The children, 8 girls and 175 boys were between the age of 7-18. They were released by the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri on Monday, after they were cleared of ties with Boko Haram insurgents.
UNICEF described the children as first and foremost victims of the ongoing conflict in the northeast Nigeria, and their release, an important step on their long way to recovery.
Its Country Representative in Nigeria, Mohamed Fall, said in a statement that UNICEF would collaborate with the Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, and other partners to provide the children with all the assistance they need to recover.
In addition to that, the children, he added, will receive adequate and quality medical attention and psychosocial support before the process of reuniting them with their families and reintegrating them into society begins
He was deeply grateful to the Nigerian Army for the action. “It was a demonstration of a clear commitment to a better protection for children affected by the conflict,” said UNICEF Country Representative.
UNICEF, had since 2017 supported the social and economic reintegration of more than 8,700 children released from armed groups, helping them trace their families, communities and offer them psychosocial support, education, vocational training and informal apprenticeships, and opportunities to improve livelihood.